The Subway and a Smithsonian

On Sunday we had to do a bit of housekeeping so we got a late start.  Around 2pm we finally decided to head in to DC.  Now to get there from the RV park you have several options.  We could drive and try to find a parking spot (not too easy and about a 45 minute drive), Uber or take the subway (known here as the Metro).  The Metro is the easiest and cheapest way to get into the downtown area from here.  There is a bus that leaves right from the park and takes you to the subway station.  It sounds great in theory but there one was one tiny problem, I was still a bit terrified of subway systems after my last encounter.

Outside of the building

National Air & Space Museum.  Our destination for Sunday.

The London Incident (and why subways aren’t for me)

I’ve ridden subways plenty of times before.  I’ve used the Metro here in DC, the Marta in Atlanta and the Tube in London.  Unfortunately it’s that last one that forever scarred me.  We were in London July of 2005.  My husband was working and the kids and I were doing some touring.  We had seen pretty much everything but I wanted them to see the British Museum before we left London so we headed over there in a cab.  The kids really enjoyed the museum and when it was time to leave I decided we should use the Tube for the first time so the kids could experience a subway.  I had used the Tube on previous trips to London with no problems.  This time however it was a really BAD IDEA!!!!

We walked over to the nearest station, bought our tickets and headed down the huge escalator.   As we dropped further under the ground I began to feel a slight panic.  The crowd was huge.  We were packed in pretty tight and everyone had bags, backpacks, briefcases etc.  Now in my post 9/11 mind this didn’t feel too safe.  I started looking around a little more and realized there was almost no security (I saw one police man to hundreds of people).  We boarded the train and the panic sensation only got worse.  I couldn’t help it, this just felt completely wrong and unsafe.  I had the overwhelming feeling that I needed to get my kids out of there.  I just KNEW something bad was going to happen.  We got off at the very next stop, I hailed a cab and we made it back to our hotel safe and sound.

We were flying to Germany the next day and thinking about taking the Tube to the airport.  After my experience that day, (and because I hate rushing in the mornings) I decided there was NO WAY I was doing that.  So we checked out of our hotel that afternoon and moved to a hotel right by the airport.  Thank God we did!  That simple decision probably saved our lives! The next morning we were at the airport bright and early but something was off.  As we stood in line for our tickets, security people suddenly started running by us.  We kind of all stood there in confusion as we began to see more and more police presence.  A few minutes later there was an announcement that the Tube station was closed but no other information.  It turns out, that was the morning of July 7, 2005.  There was multiple suicide bombers that hit the London Tube and bus systems.  Fifty two people were killed that day and over 700 were injured.  Being in the airport, we were unaware of the extreme nature of the attack until we reached Germany and there were news crews waiting as we got off the airplane.  My family had apparently been trying to get in touch with us the whole time and were slightly panicked because they couldn’t reach us.  Fortunately they have our friends number in Germany and were able to finally catch us when we arrived at their home.

I haven’t been in a subway since then, until yesterday.  So needless to say, I wasn’t sure how being on subway would feel.  It wasn’t too bad though.  The first 5 minutes I was a bit of a sweaty mess with nerves but it all turned out just fine.

One of the bombed subway trains in London, 2005

 

 

The Smithsonian

So after my little fear conquering subway ride we were off to see our first Smithsonian museum of the trip.  There is so much to see but because of our late start we decided to just see one museum, and decided on the National Air & Space Museum.  It has changed a lot since last I was there but it was so great!  The technology of flight is just incredible and this place shows it all!  It’s easier to just let you see the pictures than for me to bore you with all the details, so here you go!

 

 

The Wright brothers were so cool!

The Wright brothers were so cool!

Bicycle of the Wright brothers

Bicycle of the Wright brothers

Amelia Earhart was kind of a badass!

Amelia Earhart was kind of a badass!

 

Her flight jacket

Her flight jacket

One of Howard Hughes' airplanes

One of Howard Hughes’ airplanes

I'm so glad commercial airplanes aren't like this anymore!

I’m so glad commercial airplanes aren’t like this anymore!

Don't try this at home kids

Don’t try this at home kids

Who can resist the Spirit of St. Louis?

Who can resist the Spirit of St. Louis?

Air & Space Museum

This is the survival pack of a U-2 pilot. I especially like that lip balm was in it

This is the survival pack of a U-2 pilot. I especially like that lip balm was in it.

This picture is for my boys! They know why

This picture is for my boys! They know why.

 

All in all, it was a very good day!  I conquered a fear and I got to see some really cool bits of history.  Now on to the next museum……

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